It will be one year Friday since President Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination and declared to Americans that he will be their “voice.”
Trump’s convention speech was a long-winded one filled with attacks on his opponent Hillary Clinton, descriptions of an America descended into chaos, and promises to voters.
What follows is a Daily Caller analysis of how many of these key promises have fared six months into the presidency.
“The first task for our new administration will be to liberate our citizens from the crime and terrorism and lawlessness that threatens their communities.”
“When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country. I will work with, and appoint, the best and brightest prosecutors and law enforcement officials to get the job done. In this race for the White House, I am the law and order candidate.”
These proclamations by Trump at the RNC came after he rattled off statistics about rising crime in major American cities. A recent analysis by FiveThirtyEight showed that for the third year in a row murders are expected to rise in large cities.
However, President Trump’s Justice Department has certainly implemented a tough on crime stance. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded former Attorney General Eric Holder’s guidelines directing federal prosecutors to not pursue mandatory minimum sentencing in many cases in order to help so-called low-level drug offenders.
In effect this decision by Sessions will eventually lead to more prosecutions and higher sentencing. The day after sending out his memo to U.S. Attorneys, he said, “These are not low-level drug offenders we in the federal courts are focusing on. These are drug dealers, and you drug dealers are going to prison.”
“To make life safe for all our citizens, we must also address the growing threats we face from outside the country: we are going to defeat the barbarians of ISIS.”
“We must abandon the failed policy of nation-building and regime change that Hillary Clinton pushed in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria. Instead, we must work with all of our allies who share our goal of destroying ISIS and stamping out Islamic terror. This includes working with our greatest ally in the region, the State of Israel.”
It might be a bit early to judge President Trump’s goal of defeating the “barbarians of ISIS,” but his administration has made progress in the fight against ISIS. Just last week, Iraqi security forces working with the U.S. and other allies liberated Mosul from ISIS control.
This large Iraqi city is where ISIS declared its caliphate and its just one example of territory the terrorist organization is losing. At that Republican convention, President Trump bemoaned the loss of life in Europe due to ISIS attacks and the terrorist group continues to take responsibility for terrorist attacks on the continent.
The U.S., however, has yet to to encounter an attack from ISIS under Trump. As for Trump’s call to end the “failed policy of nation-building,” it is unclear exactly if this is being completely fulfilled. The Trump administration launched an airstrike against Syria after a chemical weapons attack in April, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s reign is “coming to an end.”
However, at the same time the U.S. has cut off support for anti-Assad rebels and President Trump has continued to assail interventionist policies. The president recently told the Christian Broadcasting Network that the U.S. has gotten “nothing” from its involvement in the Middle East, and insisted he’d rather spend money on American infrastructure.
“Lastly, we must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place.”
The Trump administration has worked to accomplish this goal, but the White House has ran into several obstacles.
Shortly after entering office, President Trump signed an executive order that indefinitely barred Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., temporarily ended America’s refugee program for 120 days, and banned the entry of citizens of Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen for 90 days.
This order was blocked in courts and Trump subsequently issued a revised order that was similarly halted until the Supreme Court allowed its implementation on June 26.
The State Department has also worked to implement more stringent vetting standards by requiring potential immigrants or visitors that fit a “threat profile” to give 15 years of biographical information and five years worth of social media accounts.
“We are going to build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities. I have been honored to receive the endorsement of America’s Border Patrol Agents, and will work directly with them to protect the integrity of our lawful immigration system. By ending catch-and-release on the border, we will end the cycle of human smuggling and violence. Illegal border crossings will go down. Peace will be restored. By enforcing the rules for the millions who overstay their visas, our laws will finally receive the respect they deserve.”
President Trump has ordered the construction of a southern border wall, and the Army Corps Of Engineers has begun doing preliminary work for the construction of this wall. While President Trump spoke on the campaign trail about a wall stretching all the way across the border, his administration has instead embraced putting border walling in certain key areas.
Trump also signed executive orders that allowed immigration officials to more freely deport illegal immigrants, and border crossings reached a 17-year low in April.
Whether the so-called “catch-and-release” policy of the Obama administration has ended is unclear. With limited amount of detention space available officials have been forced to release illegal immigrants.
ICE Director Thomas Homan recently asked Congress to increase the amount of detention space from roughly 34,000 beds to 51,000 beds.
“I pledge to never sign any trade agreement that hurts our workers, or that diminishes our freedom and independence. Instead, I will make individual deals with individual countries. No longer will we enter into these massive transactions, with many countries, that are thousands of pages long – and which no one from our country even reads or understands. We are going to enforce all trade violations against any country that cheats. “
“This includes stopping China’s outrageous theft of intellectual property, along with their illegal product dumping, and their devastating currency manipulation. Our horrible trade agreements with China, and many others, will be totally renegotiated. That includes renegotiating NAFTA to get a much better deal for America – and we’ll walk away if we don’t get the deal that we want.”
President Trump has followed through on much of his protectionist rhetoric. The U.S. pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and Trump signed an executive order calling for an examination of all existing trade pacts to in order to eliminate “violations and abuses.” NAFTA renegotiations begin in August and Trump has said that he will renegotiate the U.S.’ trade deal with South Korea.
The Trump administration also opened an investigation in April into Chinese steel dumping. However, he has not announced a renegotiation of trade agreements with the nation.
“America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world. Reducing taxes will cause new companies and new jobs to come roaring back into our country.”
The Trump administration has vowed to sign in sweeping tax reform. However, this effort has been stalled along with the effort to repeal Obamacare.
“We are going to lift the restrictions on the production of American energy.”
President Trump signed an executive order allowing the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and his administration has rolled back several energy regulations. This effort includes stalling enforcement of an Obama-era rule regarding methane leaks.
“We will build the roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, and the railways of tomorrow. This, in turn, will create millions more jobs. We will rescue kids from failing schools by helping their parents send them to a safe school of their choice. “
The Trump administration continues to say they are working on signing in infrastructure legislation, but this has yet to happen. So far, the plan touted by top economic adviser Gary Cohn is a mix of private-and-and public investment.
“We will repeal-and-replace disastrous Obamacare.”
The Republican effort to repeal-and-replace Obamacare met failure this week in the Senate with four GOP senators refusing to back a White House-supported plan. Now Republican Senate leadership is aiming to have a full repeal of Obamacare and replace the Obama-era health law later down the road.
“We’re going to work with all of our students who are drowning in debt to take the pressure off these young people just starting out their adult lives.”
President Trump hasn’t talked much about student debt while in office and a proposed 2018 budget from the White House would cut federal funding from student loan programs.
“We will completely rebuild our depleted military, and the countries that we are protecting, at a massive cost to us, will be asked to pay their fair share.”
Judging how Trump rebuilds the military six months into office is a bit difficult, but budget requests are a helpful way to look at if he was followed through on this promise.
The 2018 budget request from the White House was $18 billion more than what the Obama administration had outlined, but this wasn’t enough for Republican hawks in Congress. The budget the House and Senate Armed Services Committees proposed is for $640 billion, which is $37 billion more than the $603 billion the White House wanted.
As for asking for allies to spend more money, this is an issue that Trump has continued to harp on.
In a recent speech in Poland, the president declared: “My administration has demanded that all members of NATO finally meet their full and fair financial obligation. As a result of this insistence, billions of dollars more have begun to pour into NATO. In fact, people are shocked. But billions and billions of dollars more are coming in from countries that, in my opinion, would not have been paying so quickly.”
“We will take care of our great Veterans like they have never been taken care of before. My just-released Ten Point Plan has received tremendous veteran support. We will guarantee those who serve this country will be able to visit the doctor or hospital of their choice. My opponent dismissed the VA scandal – one more sign of how out of touch she really is.”
The single arguably major legislation Trump has signed in his first six months in office is related to the Department of Veteran Affairs. The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act has bipartisan support and gives the VA secretary more freedom to fire employees and the ability to dock bonuses and pensions of high-level officials.
The president said at the signing ceremony in June that he is “just getting started” at improving the agency. It has since been announced that the Trump administration has fired 548 employees and suspended another 200 VA workers.
“We are also going to appoint justices to the United States Supreme Court who will uphold our laws and our Constitution. The replacement of our beloved Justice Scalia will be a person of similar views, principles, and judicial philosophy. This will be one of the most important issues decided by this election.”
President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court who was eventually confirmed by the Senate to serve in the seat vacated by the late Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch, like Scalia, is an originalist.
Law professor Richard Hasen wrote a recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times that declared: “Whatever else comes of the Donald Trump presidency, already he has perfectly fulfilled one campaign pledge in a way that will affect the entire United States for a generation or more: putting another Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. The early signs from Justice Neil Gorsuch, who joined the Court in April, show that he will hew to the late Justice Scalia’s brand of jurisprudence, both in his conservatism and his boldness.”
“An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans.”
President Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network in an interview last week that he got “rid of the Johnson Amendment, now we are going to go try to get rid of it permanently in Congress, but I signed an executive order so that now people like you that I want to hear from, ministers and and preachers and rabbis and whoever it may be, they can speak.”
Trump hasn’t exactly gotten rid of the amendment that prohibits 501(c)(3) organizations, which include religious groups, from supporting political campaigns. Although he did sign an executive order that limits the Treasury Department’s enforcement of the rule as it pertains to religious figures or organizations.